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When Christmas Isn’t So Merry

ADVENT WREATH

“Christmas makes me sad, ” one of my colleagues said in passing this week.

Sad was a theme for me in 2015, so her comment caught my attention.

My head jerked up from what I was working on and I listened to what she had to say.

“I still put up the tree and decorate. You know, for the kids.”

“Me too.” I said.

We were speaking with a younger lady who is still a starry-eyed romantic like we used to be. I hope she never loses that magic, because once you lose it, you can’t get it back the same way.

Loss during the holidays spreads a pall over the joy of the season. Loss as in a you’ve experienced the death of a loved one during the holidays, you’ve experienced another type of loss during the year (relationship, job, ability).

As you get older, there tend to be more people and more things to miss. There are deeper elements of life to reflect upon, and joy comes less and less from what is under the tree than from the quiet moments you get to spend with people you love.

When I was a child, the season of Advent was not a spiritual experience. It was a season of ribbon candy, clementines, chocolate galore and lots of toys. As a young woman, it was a season of party dresses, romance and giddy fun.  As a middle-aged woman, I realize the meaning behind the season of Advent; living in darkness, anticipation and mystery, meditation, and the cultivation of patience.

For those who find the Christmas season emotionally challenging, please try and remember that you are not alone. Our silver-bell-and-city-sidewalk-smiles hide a multitude of sadness.

For those who still find Christmas deliriously happy, don’t be afraid to share your enthusiasm. We love it, and are happy knowing that although we may bring peace and love to the season, there are others who bear the burden of bringing the joy.

Wishing you peace this Christmas. Wishing you love. Wishing you the joy of friendship, romance and the thrill of experiencing some of life’s  unfolding mystery.

 

 

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Waiting, Hope, Endings & Beginnings

Christmas may be celebrated with gifts, food, drink, carols and time spent with loved ones, but it begins with Advent.

Advent Vespers
Advent Vespers (Photo credit: holisticgeek)

As my minister preached the sermon this first Sunday of Advent, he took us back and reminded us of our own Christmas’s past;

The first year you were married. The last Christmas you spent with a loved one. The first Christmas you lived away from home and drove for hours to get back to spend time with your family. The very first Christmas memory that you have from  your childhood.  The  very first Christmas you spent with your sweetheart….

Christmas can be a season of great joy, and it can be  season of  unfathomable loneliness, sadness, when hope is all that you have, and it’s pretty hard to find.

Advent is the beginning of the Christian calendar, and it is a season where the beauty of light breaks the long season of darkness. As with all beginnings, there is mystery, and a tangled bundle of emotions that must all be held in our hearts just as they are, intricately and infinitely bound to the others;

Waiting.

Hope.

Endings.

Beginnings.

This Christmas as with all others, I will remember my own Christmas’s past; both the joyful years , and the years I cried alone on Christmas eve with my kiddo tucked in his bed waiting for Santa, and the house filled only with  a roaring, vast, silence.

This year has been one of great change. I have survived endings and beginnings and yet I wait with hope for one more great blessing.

As the season of Advent begins, I wish you the strength to see beyond the endings, be patient in the waiting, and the courage to live with hope for the new beginnings which are sure to follow.